Timing and Circumstance

Timing can make or break a song. Timing is the difference between being stuck in traffic and ensnared by the accident. Timing happens on its own. We plan for so much in the understanding that the factors we have to account for become so numerous we couldn’t hope to reach what we thought was the final consideration without losing the first. You leave work one day to go to a concert. You leave early but not as early as you would have liked because earlier that morning you felt a little under the weather and therefore were slow getting to the building. You curse your hours younger self for being lazy and causing you such delays. The delays themselves continue to stack up and you begin to feel anxious and start apologizing to your wife who by this point in the relationship is very aware of your inability to be on time (which is ironically coupled to a reasonably sharp ability to guess the time). She is patient though and assures you that no one else is sweating it. You take a shower and get ready as the anticipation of the event starts to build against the flu that has been trying to beat you down all day. Chills and sweats and aches make lifting boxes that much harder, but the hot water and the extra steam from the cooler air help to relieve some of the congestion. Menthol and camphor paste with its minty scent and color tackle the rest on the way out of the bathroom. A quick run to the bank for parking money and then a dash across the street for dinner before we venture out onto the longest least exciting straight road ever engineered. A mix up at the bank causes another delay. Credit cards all look the same when you use the same bank and what do you mean my pin is wrong? Dash back outside to swap cards, withdrawal the requisite funds, acquire the aforementioned dinner and we find ourselves well on the Way.

Looking out the windows that you haven’t used in years you see sights from your childhood that have grown right along side you. Age paints the landscape more vibrantly as the clusters of warehouses and airports and towns start to come together in the complex systems they compose. The airport comes out further than you realized, but it makes sense in proximity to the large rail yard below the highway overpass. We change the radio and it seems to be aware of the extra passenger present. Odd things sometimes, but all ultimately just coincidence of various degrees. Songs and talks of the hubris of man to lay out these stone canals when water failed to keep up with our ambitions. As the meeting is crossed we are joined on the stone river by more colorful characters in twin-seat highway race cars and ponder if we saw a glimpse of the act or a fellow member of the crowd. These musings go forever unanswered, but enjoyably pass the time as we travel. The organism of societal movings is becoming whipped into a frenzy as we approach the local epicenter of activity. In this opportunity for human to shine as a cooperative species we are reminded of our selfish and distracted natures at every turn. The cell directions service warns us of approaching congestion which has managed to work its way out of your nose and into the system at large. In a city you realize that engineers don’t look at a landscape the same way. The highways ignore what we see as slopes and curve through the air like intricate flight paths to guide the swirling masses of people around and through the spaces where we congregate. A separate roadway exists behind a fence along the waterway and we jest that the locals must have a secret access point to avoid the mess we find ourselves in. A building in the distance displays a familiar scene of a flowing river and your mind wanders back to the radio’s playful sentience. The lights show fades from the building and for a moment you await it’s return. A new pattern is displayed and the coincidence is enjoyable. The highway drops into a low trench as you slowly round a bend and witness some incredible displays of assertion as the wielders of steel bricks swerve to cross the road in the deadliest version of frogger. Traffic slows to a crawl and flashing lights can be seen in the distance. A sign indicates that an accident has occurred. Not all of the players were able to maneuver safely through the flow. Glass and fluid remain to be ground into the pavement by the unyielding river of vehicles. Briefly you wonder how far back in time the accident happened and when you might have been crossing the path of that collision if you had been more on time.

Parking in a city designed for horses is an adventure in alertness. A location is selected based on convenience and we enter the car dungeon through a bizarrely reminiscent concrete ramp. This is likely not the first time you’ve ever parked in this garage and you dismiss the thought. Signs and arrows lead us astray but a hipster with a hybrid advises us to be more perceptive and check the middles rather than the edge. This labyrinth provides a transformative mindset. You enter and in losing your car decide to loosen up and embrace a more present aesthetic. Bicycles and cars compete for space with the former slipping into equal balance. She calls you a nerd and you agree. Shown all the sights to see and a metal frame is what catches your eye, she’s not wrong. The energy and the crowd along the street are refreshing after so many walks along comparatively dim and abandoned sidewalks. The people are as varied as the storefronts and though there was tension most of it seemed positive. Seekers of joys and of love laughed amongst themselves and for a moment it seems like the area has forgotten the surrounding storms building around the world. This amnesia is comforting for a while.

We arrive at the venue and you discover another small joy as she has a keychain confiscated for the safety of the other attendees. A silly pride warms a small part of your chest as you laugh and await her by the door. Light ribbings about our mutual bad influence distract us from the building nerves in the changed scenery. We find a corner and proceed toward a flight of stairs. Lead astray by a desire to escape the crowd we originally sought to join. Guided by a sweet voice to an overpriced can and a woman could could provide us with exclusively roped off stools or chairs we eventually seek an exit. Forces of odor and a ginger with something on his mind drive us toward the front of the show. The first act of hypnosis is completed and the crowd buzzes with excitement and what can be assumed to be various intoxicants. The floor grabs as your feet and attempts to trap you here for ever. The main act prepares their stage. A father and son join our space and we rearrange to accomodate the shorter. Comfort is found in relatable conversation and a tingle works its way through you. The King of Sludge arranges a tall sleek metal stand and we are left in wonder as to its function. Jazz musicians always dress so sleek. As with everything else, all convention seems to be cast aside and the end result remains complementary and pleasing.

We are told later that the first portion of the performance is a gift. We are all drawn in by the trios ability to dance along it and bring us along with them. The lights covering their armor flash in rhythm to the sound. To close one’s eyes is to miss the flash but it remains easier to follow without the distraction. We are told we are all just one thing in a bigger thing. All just one part, our rhythms following the flow cast out by their signal. A local solar system guided by the gravity of the bass and the balanced chaos of the horns. The frequency rises and falls and then breaks to silence. We exit into a frozen night, now colder than before in our sweat soaked outfits as the heat and people swarm away from the scene. Our evening folds itself up neatly into the next adventure.

Cut where the knife goes through, forcing it will dull the blade. Just go with it.